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Press Review

IZVESTIA (14/2/2005)

The Kaliningrad region should have an official special status of foreign territory -- this was stated on Friday by presidential representative in the North-Western Federal District Ilya Klebanov. The story reveals the essence of this special status, saying what it means to Russia. (1, 3, Vremya Novostei, 2)

The 9th round of the Russian-Georgian negotiations on military issues late last week resulted in failure. The story examines the most controversial problems, discussed at the negotiations, including the Russian military bases. (1)

The Federal Tax Service intends to investigate Gazprom' s violations in the Blue Stream project. The Audit Chamber stated that Gazprom has used the tax benefits in a wrong way and has to pay an additional 478. 8 million rubles to the budget. The story examines the conflicting situation, focusing on Gazprom' s reaction and experts' conclusions. (1, 10)

Chechen rebels on Saturday violated Aslan Maskhadov' s promised truce and attacked federal troops in Shali and a check-point on the Gudermes- Khasavyurt road. As a result, several militiamen were killed and wounded. The story gives details. Chechnya' s Military Commandant Grigory Fomenko commented on the situation. (2)

The story describes national rallies over the weekend in support of President Putin that were organized by United Russia, and also numerous protests against the monetarization of welfare benefits. (2, Kommersant, 7, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 2, Noviye Izvestia, 2, Vremya Novostei, 3, Russky Kuryer, 4, Gazeta, 2, Novaya Gazeta, No. 11, p. 4, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1, 9, 11, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 2, MK, 1, 2)

NTV Director-General Vladimir Kulistikov in a couple of days is expected to sign an order on abolishing two directorates-- Documentary Films headed by Savik Shuster and Feature Films headed by Sergei Skvortsov. The story comments on the measure, saying that both managers will most likely leave the channel. (2)

St. Petersburg police on Saturday detained Mikhail Obozov, the organizer of the movement " Moving Without Putin" . The story describes what police disliked in his behaviour. (2)

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov in his speech at the Security Conference in Munich on Sunday reiterated that Russia reserved the right to launch preventive strikes against terrorists anywhere. The story focuses on main provisions of his speech. (3, Kommersant, 3, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Noviye Izvestia, 1, 7, 2, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 3, MK, 2)

The story features the inauguration ceremony of Sergei Bagapsh as the President of Abkhazia on Saturday, saying who came to attend the ceremony. (3, Kommersant, 1, 10, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 1, 3, Vremya Novostei, 2)

In an interview UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour, who has visited Russia, shares her view on the situation with human rights in Russia. (3, MK, 2)

The story describes US former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger' s meeting with President Putin in the Kremlin on Saturday. (3, Kommersant, 2, Vremya Novostei, 1, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 2)

Political analyst Yury Bogomolov reflects on how protesting benefit- recipients and pensioners, who are unable to make revolution today, can contribute to its beginning. Who could be its leader? (4)

Academic Robert Nigmatulin gives a bad mark to the gvt for three destructive processes, due to which, according to Margaret Thatcher, " Russia is ill and without exaggeration is dying at the present time " . The author examines these three destructive processes in detail. (4 )

Ukraine' s President Viktor Yushchenko has undergone a dermatological examination in Switzerland, where he was accompanied by Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun. Brief. (5)

Interior army unit commander Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Cherkasov in Mozdok on Sunday shot dead a militiaman, who worked in a medical detoxication center. The story gives details. (6, Kommersant, 6)

President Putin in the Kremlin on Friday met with CitiGroup head Sanford Weill. The story describes the meeting, saying that they usually contribute to large investments in Russia. (9, 11, Vremya Novostei, 8 )

Transaero on Saturday signed a contract with the Kazan aviation production association (KAPO) on the delivery of 10 passenger planes Tu-214. The story examines the deal, saying that it is the largest agreement over the past 15 years. (9)

Yukos on Friday demanded a $20 billion compensation from Gazprom, Rosneft, Gazpromneft and Baikal Finance Group in connection with their participation in an illegal auction to sell the company' s main asset - Yuganskneftegaz. The story examines the case that can be considered in the American Texas Court. (10, Kommersant, 1, 14, Noviye Izvestia, 3, Vremya Novostei, 1, 7, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 2)

Today marks the first anniversary of the Transvaal tragedy. On this occasion two survivors -- Dmitry Denisov and Tamara Papitashvili-- on Friday filed a suit in the Moscow Zamoskvoretsky District Court against the Moscow Prosecutor' s Office that, in their opinion, is deliberately dragging down the investigation. The story describes the case. All central papers devote their stories to this date. (13, Kommersant, 5, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 4, Noviye Izvestia, 6, Gazeta, 4, 5, Vremya Novostei, 1, 3, Novaya Gazeta, No. 11, p. 18, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 2, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 3)

Teachers in several Moscow elite schools have failed to receive their salaries since the start of this year. The story describes these schools, focusing on reasons behind their miserable position today. (13)

KOMMERSANT (14/2/2005)

The State Duma on Friday passed amendments to the law concerning the turnover of arable land, but the Conciliation Commission rejected all amendments. The story says why. (2)

The Party of Pensioners in Moscow on Saturday held its 6th Congress that summed up results of its work last year. Its leader Valery Gartung proudly noted that the party took an active part in all regional election campaigns. The story describes the event, its participants and decisions. (3, Vremya Novostei, 4)

Two independent deputies-- Vladimir Ryzhkov and former Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov -- late last week visited Krasnoyarsk with the idea of creating a united democratic opposition. The story comments their idea, focusing on results of the visit. (3)

The Astrakhan Regional Duma on Friday endorsed the candidacy of Yury Chaplin as a new representative of the regional gvt in the Federation Council. The story comments on the local Duma' s choice. (3)

Economic Development Minister German Gref and presidential representative in the North-Western Federal District Ilya Klebanov over the weekend visited Kaliningrad to see how its administration is preparing to mark the city' s 750th jubilee scheduled for July. The story says that the officials were displeased at the preparations. (4)

Chechnya' s First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov on Sunday announced his intention to take to court representatives from human rights organizations, who, in his opinion, without any reason have accused him of abducting people. He did not give any concrete names, but it became clear that he meant the Memorial organization that was the first to have said that Chechnya' s siloviki were involved in the disappearance of Aslan Maskhadov' s relatives. The story comments on Ramzan' s statement. (4)

The headquarters in charge of eliminating the consequences of the accident in the Yesaulskaya mine in Novokuznetsk has given up the idea of flooding the mine. The story comments on the decision. (5)

Aslan Maskhadov' s supporters on Sunday admitted the fact of detaining by Chechnya' s law-enforcers of Ichkeria' s former Vice-President Vakha Arsanov. The story reports on how Chechnya' s First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov has regarded this fact. (6)

In an interview Georgy Khaindrava, Georgia' s State Minister in charge of settling conflicts, says how Georgia intends to return Abkhazia and South Ossetia to its jurisdiction. (10)

In an interview Tarry Davis, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who arrived in Moscow on Sunday, talks about issues (Chechnya above all and drawbacks in the Russian judicial system) he plans to discuss with the Russian leadership. (11)

Wimm-Bill-Dann plans to buy up agricultural assets. This decision was made on Friday at a session of the Board of Directors. The story reveals its plans. (13, 16)

GSM Bitel, the only cellular operator in Kyrgyzstan, may change its owner. Russian participants, including MDM-bank, will take part in a closed tender to buy 100 percent of shares of the company valuated at $100 million-$150 million. The story examines what risks the future buyer will have. (13, 14)

The story reports on how federal authorities can re-divide the property in the Yakutian diamond-extracting company ALROSA. (13)

VEDOMOSTI (14/2/2005)

Having won full control over the Magnitogorsk Metals Combine (or Magnitka) for its Management Board, Director-General Viktor Rashnikov decided to give up combine management. He intends to resign from the post of Magnitka Director-General in order to become head of its Board of Directors. (A1)

The Kremlin has rejected Rosneft' s idea to raise debts for its subsidiaries by $5. 5 billion. On Friday the company announced that the shareholders' meetings to approve these deals can be cancelled. Officials calculated that Rosneft' s plans threaten to its merger with Gazprom (A1 )

The state and EastLine Group managing Airport Domodedovo are close to a settlement of their dispute on the rent of aerodrome. The presidential administration has recommended them to sign a compromise agreement that may be announced already today. (A1)

Education Minister Andrei Fursenko plans to divide all domestic institutes into three groups. Thus, ten-twenty national universities will enjoy full independence in determining their education and examination policies. And what are the remaining two groups? (A2)

The USA is indignant at Russia' s plans to sell weapons to Venezuela. Russia and Venezuela have already stated that they don' t care about the Americans' opinion and that the deal will be completed. (A2 )

Experts say that Russia should radically change its migration policy, otherwise its economy will considerably slow down. The story presents experts' point of view. (A3)

The Chinese Xinhua Agency late last week made public a forecast of the Center for the Study of Development Problems attached to the Council of Ministers. According to this forecast, the Chinese economy up to 2010 will annually increase by 8 percent. Thus, the gross domestic product of China in the next 5 years will reach $2. 6 trillion. (A3)

The Central Bank in order to decrease capital outflow from Russia plans to lower the reservation norms for several currency operations, but market participants say that these measures will be ineffective. (A3 )

Is it possible and is there any need to curtail transfer price formation? Four experts share their viewpoints. (A4)

In an interview Andrei Kozitsyn, Director-General of the Urals Mining Metals Company that was created in 1999 talks about his company, focusing on its medium-term strategy and major tasks. (A5)


The Nafta-Moskva company controlled by deputy Suleiman Kerimov intends to build the first private city in Russia. It plans in 5 years to build 2. 7 million square meters of elite housing and entertainment complexes on its purchased 430 hectares of land on Novorizhskoye Highway not far from the Moscow Ring Road. The cost of the project is $3 billion. (B1)

Yukos is demanding from Gazprom, Rosneft, Baikal Finance Group and Gazpromneft $20 billion that the company, in the opinion of its lawyers, has lost together with Yuganskneftegaz. At the same time, the Yukos Management Board is preparing the company' s restructuring, hoping to save the remaining assets. (B1)

VympelCom' s minority shareholder is working for introducing into the company' s charter the norms that allow the Board of Directors to approve the purchase of assets by a simple majority of votes. Experts suspect that the plaintiff' s aim is to give VympelCom a chance to buy Ukrainian RadioSystems against the will of Telenor. (B1)

The Russian Federal Property Fund has cancelled trading to sell 20 percent of shares of the Far Eastern Sea Steamship-Line. State officials say that they have no intention to leave this package as state property, but intend to considerably raise its starting price. (B2)

Entrepreneur Alisher Usmanov has earned over $300 million on deals with the shares of the British/Dutch metals holding Corus. Last week he sold his remaining 1. 2 percent of shares of the company for $59 million. Analysts say that Usmanov has chosen good time for selling shares. (B2)

IFC late lasts week approved the issuing of a $30 million credit to St. Petersburg Yevrosib company. The latter will spend the money on the purchase of 1, 000 wagons for transporting timber. (B2)

The Japanese Toyota company in summer will obtain a new president -- the Executive Vice-President Kazuaki Vatanabe (Sp. ?) who is now in charge of the delivery of parts. Thus, the company hopes to lower the risk of auto quality worsening during a planned increase in production. (B2)

Russneft in late 2004 bought Cyprian Benodet Investments Ltd, owning 7 oil deposits in the Tomsk region. This was stated by Russneft President Mikhail Gutseriyev. Brief. (B3)


Authoritative politicians the whole last week discussed plans to amend the country' s Fundamental Law (Constitution) . Seven politicians, spin doctors, State Duma deputies, and political party leaders share their views on the issue. (1, 2 )

In an interview (on the eve of his visit to Moscow) Azerbaijan' s President Ilham Aliyev talks about issues he intends to discuss in Moscow with Russian President Putin. (1, 3)

The system of CIS collective defense has begun to swiftly break down. The first evidence is the upcoming liquidation of the CIS Military Cooperation Headquarters. The story examines this and several other evidences of the collapse, focusing on its reasons. (1, 2)

A new financial institution -- banks-agents-- will appear in Russia already this year. The state-run corporation " The Agency for Deposits Insurance " (ASB) in late February will announce a competition among banks for this status. In an interview ASB Director General Alexander Turbanov talks about such banks and their functions. (5)


Seventy Russian officers (in reserve) , who worked in Rocket Strategic Troops and who for two years already have been demanding new apartments that they should have by law, held a meeting in the Kedrovy village (Krasnoyarsk region) to discuss their position and demands. The session decided to apply to the USA for help. The story describes their miserable position. (1, 7)

Not long before Valentine' s Day, the European section of Greenpeace made public a report saying that perfume products of famous firms contain poisonous substances that are harmful for health. The story describes several concrete firms and their products. (1, 7)

Yury Afanasyev, President of the Russian Humanities University, who in his recent interview to Novaya Gazeta, harshly criticized education reform and also the manner and style of making significant state decisions, has caused indignation from his university administration that even intended to sack him. In an exclusive interview Afanasyev comments on the current situation in the university. (1, 7)

The feature story describes how Valentine' s Day is being marked in Russia today. (5, Gazeta, 22, 23, Vremya Novostei, 12, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 10, 11)

Ingush special forces officers during their special operation in Nazran on Friday destroyed an apartment house to kill one rebel, who was armed with a pistol. The story describes the operation. (6)


In an interview former Ingushetia' s President Ruslan Aushev talks about the present situation in Chechnya, focusing on Aslan Maskhadov' s real influence in the republic and on those federal and Chechen forces who are opposing the holding of peace negotiations with him. (2)

In an interview Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu talks about his hunting hobby in reply to NG' s recent story about how top state officials, including Shoigu, often hunt for animals in Khakassia and Tuva. (3)

The story examines concrete results of numerous check-ups in St. Petersburg to see how its jubilee programs have been fulfilled and how its jubilee billions have been spent. (8)

NG military observer Pavel Felgengauer reflects on where 20 strategic rockets together with their equipment were gone when they were transported from Ukraine to Russia after the break-up of the Soviet Union. (10)

In an exclusive interview presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov reveals his tough stand on the monetarization of welfare benefits, on prospects of spending the stabilization fund, on reasons for and consequences of capital outflow from Russia and on a high level of inflation. (13)

NG political observer Julia Latynina offers an in-depth analysis of the sore points of the Putin regime that give birth to serious problems not only for the president but for the whole of Russia (A supplementary sheet) .

The story describes how new Ukrainian authorities plan to reform mass media, intending in part to introduce public television. (22)